Housing minister opens new Hillcrest development in Aberdeen
A new affordable housing development which will inject 67 good quality affordable homes into the city’s housing stock has been officially opened by minister for local government, housing and planning Kevin Stewart MSP.
Constructed by Stewart Milne on behalf of Hillcrest, the development at Countesswells has created 52 new homes which are available to those on Aberdeen’s housing list. The remaining 15 properties are for mid-market rent.
Mr Stewart, who is also an MSP for the Aberdeen Central constituency, visited the development located to view the homes and meet delegates from the organisations involved in their development.
The minister was welcomed to the site by Hillcrest’s chairperson Alan Russell, chief executive Angela Linton and director of development David Zwirlein, along with Mel Booth, Aberdeen City Council senior housing strategy officer, Stewart Milne Homes North managing director John Low and Stewart Milne Homes North land director Richard Fawcus.
During his visit to the site, Mr Stewart also met with newly housed tenants, who discussed with the Minister the difference that the new homes had made.
The new homes have been created through an investment of £9,110,754, including £721,050 from Aberdeen City Council’s allocation from the Scottish Government’s affordable housing investment programme. £4,080,960 of the development funding was provided courtesy of a charitable bond.
The development marks the completion of the first of three phases, which are set to bring a total of 137 affordable homes to Aberdeen. There are a further two phases of development planned nearby. The second phase will commence in April 2019, and the third in July 2019, and both are expected to be completed early 2021.
The new homes have also been developed with energy efficiency in mind in order to save tenants as much money as possible. The homes benefit from solar panels, gas central heating, smart meters and state of the art insulation.
The new social rent homes consist of two bedroom cottage flats, three bedroom semi-detached and terraced houses, and two bedroom flats, while the mid-market rent homes are made up of one and two bedroom flats.
Hillcrest is fairly new to the Grampian region, only last year completing its debut development at Cove, which consisted of nine homes. Countesswells will mark the organisation’s first significant development in the region, while offering a significant boost to the city’s stretched affordable housing provision.
Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “I am delighted to see the exceptional progress made at Hillcrest Housing Association’s development at Countesswells. The government’s innovative use of donations from charitable bond investment is making a real contribution to the delivery of our target to deliver 50,000 affordable homes by 2021. This development will promote strong integrated community living in Countesswells and provide high-quality affordable homes for the city.
“This development will promote strong integrated community living in Countesswells and provide high-quality affordable homes for the city.”
Hillcrest chairman Alan Russell said: “The completion of these homes at Countesswells marks a significant milestone for Hillcrest, and we were delighted to welcome Mr Stewart to our official handover.
“Being the Scottish minister for housing and planning, it was fantastic to be able to show Mr Stewart around the development and to even meet one of the tenants.
“These good quality homes, which have been developed with the aim of saving tenants as much money as possible on their energy bills will give a welcome boost to Aberdeen’s affordable housing stock.”
Councillor Douglas Lumsden, co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, said: “Working with registered social landlords and developers to increase the supply of affordable housing is an important part of Aberdeen City Council’s Local Housing Strategy and we welcome the completion of these properties.
“Partnership working is one of many strands that we are committed to - with 2,000 new council houses being built across the city to make a significant impact on the supply of homes and innovative work also being done to improve processes for re-letting existing council properties. Positive strides are being made every day and we will continue to work towards shared aims.”
Stewart Milne Homes North land director, Richard Fawcus, added: “Our design principles have delivered a terrific place to live and we are now pleased to hand them over to Hillcrest and welcome more residents to this award-winning, new community.
“At Countesswells, we’re creating something really special, where traditional community values and features such as the playpark, orchard and woodland paths meet innovative design, connectivity and sustainability.
“The new town is perfectly placed for country living, close to the city and, as the community grows, so too will the services and amenities, including public transport, shops and schools.”